The idea was to foster a collaborative approach to the music making and invite the other musicians to contribute their compositions and favourite tunes as well, rather than me having complete control over the repertoire (as was the case in the Andrea Keller Quartet). By opening things up like this, there’s diversity to the music that otherwise wouldn’t exist to the same degree.
“The internet has made the world really small. ‘Two Cities’ could really be called ‘Three Continents’ (maybe doesn’t have the same ring to it), because it was made all over the world. It was written and recorded in Australia and America, mixed in Australia, mastered in England and manufactured in Germany.”
“Half of ‘Cloud Appreciation Day’ was written before a friend died suddenly and completed after the event, so there is a bipolar quality to it. Almost every track has a distressing background, but it doesn’t always make the music depressing. In some cases, the reaction was to write more uplifting sounding music”.
Andy Fiddes’ writing shines as bright as Tinkler’s playing. The range of colours, the breadth of ideas – so many audacious chances taken, chances that all work beautifully – the mastery of the idiom: pushing the big idea of The Big Band forward while deeply knowing its traditions (you can hear echoes of the history all across Fiddes vs Tinkler).
“While studying jazz at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, this made me feel quite inadequate, but there was a point when I stopped comparing myself to all the great bebop singers and embraced my own way of making and enjoying music”.
“We decided to record this performance because we felt it was a good time to document the work we’ve done so far, and also because the musicians are so good. We’ve been very lucky in Melbourne to have worked with great players; it’s a great privilege to have your music played by such fantastic musicians”.
Schwing writes: “When standing at the Neck I see/hear the environment along a pitch scale. Or a colour scale.”
All songs in the album are performed with the same electrifying intensity, from the most high-energy compositions to the contemplative interpretations of standards.
JMI has received endorsements from significant jazz figures, including trumpeter Wynton Marsalis who has performed with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Sonny Rollins and Sarah Vaughn, and founded one of New York’s finest jazz education facilities Jazz at Lincoln Centre. Marsalis commends JMI for developing “one of the first jazz curriculums that addresses the entire fundamental range of jazz styles… a template that should be followed by schools who are serious about the study and performance of jazz music”.
Keller’s harmonic sense throughout seems to have its own logic, following its path to places, once arrived at, are just where we want to be. Like all valid jazz writing, her compositional language seems to suit the soloists just fine, too.